Responding to a political campaign's suggestion that soldiers have a right to protest inadequate equipment (at a time when a remarkable number of multiple-accused courts-martial have been or are being conducted), Nigerian Defence Headquarters has issued this statement:
“In view of the series of insinuations, allegations and false claims being made by certain activists and politicians on the legal and disciplinary process in the Nigerian military, the Defence Headquarters finds it necessary to call on politicians to avoid using the forum or medium of their political campaigns to incite or endorse acts of indiscipline in the nation’s military establishments.
“This call has become necessary as the trend got to another level on Tuesday when a prominent politician declared that “The soldiers have the right to protest for the Federal Government’s failure to fully equip them.”
“It was expected that the fellow quoted or his party would have made immediate moves to correct this fallacy or erroneous impression being propagated especially in view of the level of knowledge of his principal and candidate in forthcoming elections.
Unfortunately, no such gesture seems to be forthcoming. There is, therefore, the need to caution against the propagation of this dangerous idea before it causes more problems.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, the military institution rejects this declaration and its intention in all ramifications. The military law as recognised by the constitution of the federation is an appropriate legal document for the management of affairs of the military. The processes it outlines for handling military offences remain legal and will continue to be applied in the interest of the nation’s security and democracy.
“Individuals and interest groups seeking to play to the gallery by being meddlesome, sensational or mischievous in interpreting developments in the military are advised to moderate their activities with some decorum. It is clear that the false accusations that depend on unsubstantiated allegations being peddled on the military operations in Nigeria are intended to tarnish the reputation of Nigerian military and its leadership.
“The campaign apparently aimed at undermining constituted authority in the military must not be encouraged.
“It is obvious that most of the comments and sensational stories in the media have been oblivious of the fact that the processes are still ongoing and yet to be concluded. The war on terror is not all about equipment but mindset of both the military and the public. Inciting remarks can only compound the situation for all involved.
“The military is resolved to prosecute the counter terrorism campaign with all sense of commitment by the rank and file. The tendency to suggest or encourage dissention in the system will not yield any advantage to any well-meaning Nigerian citizen.
“Politicians are therefore requested to guard their utterances as the military remains a veritable institution of the state. Those who seek to undermine or destroy it should be prevailed upon to stop the mission considering the fact that the institution remains indispensable to government and its process under any dispensation.
“The Nigerian military reiterates its commitment to defending the nation’s democracy. Individuals and personalities are enjoined to refrain from pronouncement and attitude that seek to undermine the established justice/disciplinary procedures and processes of the military system. This counsel is very vital to the excellent civil-military relations which is crucial to the nation’s development.
“Incitement to protests or mutiny in the military is an ill wind that will ultimately blow no good to anyone. The military authorities should not be blackmailed with a view to forestalling the exercise of due command and control over the system as established by law in the interest of the nation. “The Nigerian military has resolved not to yield to whims and caprices of those seeking to undermine its system purely for populist or political ends.’’